Educating parents of the Siri generation

By Carl Hooker
June 11th, 2015

In our digital world, some parents may feel lost at sea. Here’s what they need to know

[Ed. note: Carl Hooker will deliver a related session on digital parenting at this year’s ISTE conference on Monday June 29. Previous ISTE coverage has focused on iPads and coding and keynoter Josh Stumpenhorst.]

digital-parentsWhat ever happened to the good old days? When I was a kid I used to listen to music my parents didn’t like and stay out riding my bike until the street lights came on. Today, our kids have scheduled playdates and a steady stream of organized activities, and spend the rest of their time connecting to others online. We no longer live in an analog world, yet why do we think our parenting should look the same as it did back then?

As an administrator in a one-to-one mobile device district, I’ve seen firsthand how access to devices can disrupt learning for both good and bad. But we forget that this disruption also occurs at home when the students take their device home. Our teachers hopefully have hours and hours of support and training for integrating these tools in the classroom, but what help are parents getting?

The first reaction of parents is to take away the “threat” (in this case the technology). They’ll look for the quick and easy way to block, filter, monitor and track everything their kids are doing online. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to be aware of things your kids are doing. Last fall I wrote this letter to parents about YikYak and social media awareness. While parents were happy to hear about this new app, I also sensed an increase in frustration and helplessness. How can we stay ahead of our kids? They seem to have the two things we don’t have: time and lack of responsibility.

Next page: A hard truth for parents: There’s no easy way out